Meet Molly Beck, Author of Reach Out.

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I am passionate about helping people make their lives more interesting. I started a company that makes it easy for anyone to start a podcast, and I wrote a book about how to meet more people that will help you achieve your career goals. Prior to starting Messy.fm and writing Reach Out, I have also launched Forbes Podcasts for Forbes, led marketing at Venmo, and ran social programs for Hearst.
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I’ve been writing on the internet for a while, first on my own blog and then for other outlets. I’d had an agent for a few years, and we had a couple interesting ideas for book proposals but nothing that went very far. Then one otherwise normal Tuesday Forbes published an article I had written for them on their Mentoring Moments column about Reach Out Strategy, something I had been practicing daily for years but have never written about. The article ending up going viral that same day. By the end of the week, I was typing up a book proposal all about Reach Out Strategy, and within a month or so McGraw-Hill bought the print rights, with audio rights going to Audible. It was crazy because I had not expected – at all – that my first book would be about networking, but I’m so glad it was! It also makes me happy because you never know when life can change for the better in a matter of a few hours on an otherwise normal Tuesday.
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Reach Out Strategy is the on-going habit of sending one email or social media message every day to a person on the edge of your network: not a total stranger, but an acquaintance someone from your past, a friend or a friend, or someone you have met recently in real life. If you sent one email or social media message a day for a full year, in one year from today you will have Reached Out to 260 people. Even at only a 40% response rate (which is low – the book goes more in-depth on response rates to expect) that means in one year’s time you will have had conversations with 104 people you have hand-picked as people you want to be a part of your network. Incredible!
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A great first Reach Out is someone you knew well in high school or college, but that you have lost touch with since then. These people will recognize your name in their inbox, and likely feel an affinity towards responding to your message, boosting your confidence for future Reach Outs.
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The biggest mistake I see is someone saying “oh, I’m not networking right now – I like my job.” Networking is NOT just for when you want a new job! Networking can help you: meet more people in a new city, make friends in your industry, start a side hustle, find a mentor, be a mentor, give back to your industry, make a work BFF, and more. Anything that is a current career goal of yours – from getting more press to learning a new skill – can be achieved faster by knowing more people. Plus, the best time to grow your network is before you are asking someone to submit your resume. So think ahead: if you know in a year you are likely to want to think about changing industries, now is the time to start reaching out to people that work at companies you want to work at (lots of templates in the book on how to do this), introducing yourself, and adding value to their life. Then, in a year when you are ready to change roles, following up on the original email thread and asking for interview or resume advice is a way to show value and interest over time.
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Oh gosh. In every way I can think. Doing daily Reach Outs have landed me lots of “big things” like new jobs, mentors, and friends – but daily Reach Out also just remind me that life is as interesting as I want to make it. It has changed my mindset from “that’d be cool to do someday” (whatever “that” is) to “who do I know that could help me baby step towards that goal?”
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That networking can be free AND fun. You don’t have to spend hours at an awkward cocktail party hoping your dream client walks in the door. All you need is an internet connection and a list of people that can help you work towards your dreams – and you are ready to start Reaching Out.
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Successful networking is about giving more than you get: it’s about adding value to other people’s lives in a way that makes you and the other person feel good. That’s why every single Reach Out email you send should include a gift to the other person – a book recommendation, an article they might like, a press opportunity. You want to be thinking of how you can help them before asking them to help you.
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That no one is born a good networker. Some people might have personalities that lend themselves to be slightly more interested in networking, but anyone can become good at networking. The hardest Reach Out to send is the first one. Once you get over that hurdle, it becomes easier over time. And if you’re looking for a great book on networking for introverts in particular, I recommend Hiding in the Bathroom by Morra Aarons-Mele.
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Life isn’t about having a perfect life, it’s about having an interesting life. And knowing more people simply means there are more chances for the winds to blow new opportunities, new projects, new friendships, into your life. All the stuff that makes life interesting. Reach Out! Interested in speaking to Molly directly? Reach out with your questions to: molly@messy.fm @msmollybeck

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